Friday, 27 September 2013

Speak Out - Stop Cyberbullying Now

 For some time last year, I was a victim of cyber-bullying - most of which, took place via  Facbook  

What happened to me was nowhere near as severe, nasty, or long lasting as what some people go through, and I'm so glad that (for now at least), it appears to be over.

In reality, it doesn't matter about the so called 'severity' of it or how long it lasts. It can be six weeks, six months, or six years - the impact is the same.

I won't go into specifics here, but I was bullied because I had the guts to stick with something I believe in wholeheartedly.

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation you would have never thought you would be in. You either do what the bullies tell you and walk away, or you stay and keep fighting.

I chose to stay, even though the bullies hated me for it. Why should I give up something I believe in, just because certain people did not (and probably still do not) approve of my choices?

I was told repeatedly that I was not the person that they thought I was, and by some I was called names. I was made to feel awful about myself on a daily basis, and it's not just the things they said to me, it's the things that were said and done behind my back.

Lies, assumptions, and judgements are made about you - and you have no control over what is done with them. For me, the worst one (although not to my face, as it were) was that I was 'faking' and 'exaggerating' my disability, I was 'a keyboard warrior!' 

For the record, when I started campaigning, there was no internet, and we didn't own a computer. It was writing letters, making phone - calls, and getting out there to talk to people. I still do that, too, but as you'll realise, it was a different world then, and it was an entirely different, FIGHT!

I  actually felt  quite indignant about the 'keyboard warrior' comment.  

In a lot of cases 'keyboard warrior-ship' or 'armchair activism' is the only option disabled and ill people have! 

I personally, would struggle to travel to protests and I think comments like that diminish and undermine, all the hard work we do in raising awareness of the hardship being caused.

We share information, provide emotional support, and we talk to people. A lot of us have dedicated our lives to this, and I really feel that everyone has a part to play, and making distinctions between so called 'direct action' and 'armchair activism' is divisive. It's the sort of thing the Tories would do!     

We don't need other campaigners to be doing that, too, because it does far more harm than good.

I am aware that by writing about this, I run the risk of it starting the bullying all over again - but I had to do it. Like I said, what happened to me was mild compared to the situations of others, but I still felt scared to turn on the computer in case there was another message waiting for me, and I found I didn't know who to trust.

Was the person I was talking to online really on my side, or were they one of the bullies, just pretending to be my friend? Would they turn on me, and use what I said against me later? Were they going to spread more lies? Sometimes they did, and I had trusted the wrong person. That just made it worse.

For the brief period that it went on, I doubted myself even more than usual. I was withdrawn, I was angry and I couldn't fight back.

I was battling the limitations and pain placed on me by being born with Cerebral Palsy. I can't walk or stand unaided, and I know I can never be a mother. I live with pain, in some form or other, every day of my life. It's hard and it's heartbreaking. There are days when I just curl up and cry, but I know I am luckier than so many, and all those years ago, I made a 'little decision' to try and do what I could, to try and change the way disabled people were perceived.

Having to fight (against our own government), for our very lives, is something I could never have predicted. 

Disabled and ill people are being systematically stripped of of our rights, dignity, and self respect by a vile, compassion-less government, and a media that seems (at least a lot of the time), intent on helping them vilify us, by spreading lies about benefit fraud figures, telling us we should all be like the seemingly 'superhuman' Paralympic athletes, and anyone isn't able to be (through no fault of their own), is labelled a 'scrounger.' 

We have been made to feel worthless, and that we don't deserve our place in society.

Like I said, I wanted to keep campaigning, the way I always have, especially against our ever worsening situation, but the bullies made me feel like I couldn't, and even more disturbing to me, was the fact that I was beginning to feel like I didn't want to fight any more. What was the point when I was even scared to turn on the computer?  

I knew who 'my' bullies were, and I knew why they did it - or at least, I think I know why they did it. For many people cyber-bullying is faceless. It is almost entirely anonymous, and that just adds to the fear and intimidation.

According to the NSPCC website 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying. Their information comes from government research and data as of March 2013.


With the tragic suicides of teenagers like Hannah Smith bringing cyberbullying back into the spotlight last year, it is important that no one feels they have to suffer in silence, whether you are a teenager or a full grown adult.

I made the decision to stand my ground. Making so many friends in the campaigning community, has made all the nasty words, and feelings, worth it - and I'll be a disability rights campaigner, until my very last breath, no matter how I'm treated. 

It's part of me. It always has been, and it always will be, but in a world where more and more time is being spent online, we need to be aware that it can happen to anyone, and thankfully, when I was bullied, my campaigner friends were there for me. 
 Of course there are tensions in any group of people, and you always take a risk when you go online but for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I think we are gradually chipping away at the the myths, lies and misrepresentation of disabled people To me, that proves, there really is, strength in numbers!

If you have been a victim of cyber bullying you can find more information and help at the following links:

Government Site:




Image: Google


  1. Very well said and as you know i too have been the victim of bullying. Not a very pleasant experience. In the end i went to tthe police and I would advise anyone else to do so as soon as it gets out of hand.

  2. Such an important subject and huge respect for being true to yourself and speaking out, you have beaten these pathetic people. x

  3. Well said Helen, I've also been the victim of online bullying - it's still going on, too, despite my informing the police. I still have posts reported to me that call me a 'retard' and allsorts, but I've long since blocked the perpetrators, so don't have to see that abuse any more. Takes a lot of courage to speak out, spot on xx